Have you ever wondered about how God’ highly personal and intimate love for each of us sits alongside his declared love for all humankind? Or how unconditional love can be consistent with the blessings of obedience? Below is a recent piece of journalling that touched on these apparent paradoxes.
I have loved you with an everlasting love that is in no way earned, enhanced by your success or diminished by your failure. It’s true that your obedience and faithfulness delight me, but since my love is absolute and complete, it doesn’t grow or decrease according to your actions. I don’t love you more than anyone else or less than anyone else. My active engagement with you is determined by your responsiveness towards me, but not my love. My joy in you is affected by your willingness to connect with me, but I go on loving you the same whether you do or don’t. It’s true I delight in your love for me and your obedience enables you to enter into the way of blessing, but my heart longs equally for those who are lost to come to know me. It’s important for you to appreciate this so you avoid judging those who don’t know me as you know me, and so you reach out to them as I reach out to them. As you read the Bible, you see that my plan was always to raise up people who would carry the message of my love and be a blessing to others. This is the privilege that all my people are called to, entering into my heart for the nations and being agents of my grace. In doing this, you become a blessing to me, reflecting back to me the love I have for you and for all people everywhere.
All that God has looked for throughout history is undivided hearts that desire to do what is right and refuse to bow the knee to anything opposed to his ways. He wants to protect and guide his people, desiring only what is good for them, but will never violate their freewill choices. Sometimes he has to stand back as we experience the consequences of ungodly choices, hoping we will learn from our own foolishness. However, Bible history shows us repeatedly how many chances he gives us (individuals and nations) to turn back. When we align our choices with his guidance, we enter into the blessings of life lived in him. It’s the little choices that make all the difference – the day to day decisions that determine our way of life. That’s why he cares about the discipline of renewing our minds – taking every faulty thought captive – so that we learn to think and respond to experiences in godly ways. If we do it continually, we establish a healthy mindset and a healthy lifestyle. We become the way that we think.